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U.S. Women's Open Receives Record Number of Entries
The United States Golf Association (USGA) has accepted a record number of entries for the 2014 U.S. Women's Open, to be conducted at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club's Course No. 2 in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C., June 19-22. The 1,702 entries surpass the 1,420 entries accepted for the 2013 championship at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y.
Eighty players are fully exempt into the championship, led by two-time and defending champion Inbee Park and nine other past Women's Open winners.
"This record number of U.S. Women's Open entrants is further illustration of the broad appeal of this national championship," said Daniel B. Burton, USGA vice president and chairman of the Championship Committee. "With the best players in the women's game competing on famed Pinehurst No. 2 immediately following the U.S. Open, this year's U.S. Women's Open is poised to be one of the most thrilling and memorable in history. We are extremely excited for this opportunity to showcase the talent of the female players on the same layout as the men."
Considered the world's premier women's golf championship, the U.S. Women's Open is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA. It is open to professional female golfers and amateur females with a Handicap Index® not exceeding 2.4.
Park is one of 10 U.S. Women's Open champions who are fully exempt into the field. She is joined by Na Yeon Choi (2012), Paula Creamer (2010), Juli Inkster (1999, 2002), Eun-Hee Ji (2009), Cristie Kerr (2007), Birdie Kim (2005), Se Ri Pak (1998), So Yeon Ryu (2011) and Karrie Webb (2000, 2001).
Entries were received from 46 states (all except Delaware, Maine, South Dakota and Vermont), the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, as well as 52 foreign countries.
Players can still earn full exemptions by winning the North Texas LPGA Shootout, Kingsmill Championship, Mobile Bay LPGA Classic, ShopRite LPGA Classic or Manulife Financial LPGA Classic. Additionally, those who are among the top 25 of the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings as of June 16 will earn a full exemption, provided they were not previously exempt.
The remainder of the field will be filled via 36-hole sectional qualifying, which will be conducted at 20 sites. For the first time in championship history, international qualifying will be conducted, at sites in the People's Republic of China, England, Japan and the Republic of Korea. Qualifying begins May 5 and runs through May 30, with all four international qualifiers scheduled for Monday, May 19.
"The tremendous international growth of women's golf is very exciting and encouraging for the future health of the game," said Dot Paluck, chairman of the USGA Women's Committee. "The USGA is proud to add international qualifying to the championship schedule, and we are looking forward to hosting the world's best players at Pinehurst."
The first player to file an entry was Katy McNicoll, a 26-year-old professional from Scotland. The last to file was 17-year-old amateur Mackenzie Peyton, of New Castle, Ky., who submitted her entry eight minutes before the deadline of 5 p.m. EDT on April 30. Alexa Pano, 9, of Lake Worth, Fla., who finished third in her age group at the 2014 Drive, Chip & Putt Championship, is the championship's youngest entrant. Bobbi Lancaster, 63, of Gold Canyon, Ariz., is the oldest entrant for the second consecutive year.
The following 80 golfers are exempt into the Women's Open:
Na Yeon Choi
Yoo Lim Choi
Sei Young Kim
Jee Young Lee
Se Ri Pak
Hee Young Park
So Yeon Ryu
Dewi Claire Schreefel
Jodi Ewart Shadoff
(a) Emma Talley
Sun Young Yoo
Bold = U.S. Women's Open champion
(a) = amateur
The above report is courtesy of the USGA. For more information, visit www.usga.org. More information about the U.S. Women's Open before, during and after the 2014 championship at Pinehurst No. 2 is available at www.uswomensopen.com.